1923 Kanto: Japan’s last major Earthquake

memorial to victims of 1923 Great Kantō earthq...

Image by Nemo's great uncle via Flickr

Echoes From Japan’s Past

With the massive quake and tsunami that struck Japan last week, the specter of another devastating event has returned: The 1923 Kanto earthquake, which shook the region around Tokyo, was the country’s last “big one.” The 7.9-magnitude quake reduced much of Tokyo to rubble, and as refugees tried to leave, firestorms swept through the city. More than 100,000 people died during the Kanto quake and its aftermath. This archival image, drawn from the U.S. Geological Survey, AP, and Brown University‘s Dana and Vera Reynolds Collection, show the horrifying wreckage. 

It’s a reminder that Japan has faced brutally difficult rebuilding efforts before, and succeeded in building back better. [ See the January 1924 edition of the Atlantic Magazine:

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